All anyone seems to talk about is how hard it is to get onto the property ladder now. We’ll admit it - buying a first home isn’t easy. And it doesn’t help that seemingly every week there’s another article about how a young couple bought a three-bed home with a garden just by giving up takeaways and only taking UK mini-breaks.
But so many first time buyers receive help, whether that’s a gifted deposit
or the chance to move back in with family to live rent free. If that’s not an option for you, that doesn’t mean the dream is over. In fact, a dream is the very thing you start with.
Dreaming about your perfect first home
It might sound like the opposite of sage advice, but the more time you’ve spent thinking about what you want, the more you’ll be motivated to make it a reality. If you know that you want to own a property, considering the ‘why’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ can be a great start, before you get on to the ‘how’ of it all.
There are loads of reasons you might want to get on the property ladder, but what’s driving you now? Maybe it’s the chest-clutching pain when you add up what you’ve paid in rent over the years. Or maybe it’s your housemate’s never-dry underwear hanging on the clothes horse in the living room for the last three months.
Or it might just be time
. Whether you’re planning on buying with friends, as part of a couple or on your own, there are options. Whilst it can be hard to imagine, your age does have a role to play here – the longest mortgages are often around 35 years and ideally you want to pay it off before you reach retirement.
Obviously, you might overpay on your mortgage, or sell the property and buy something else, so we’re certainly not saying you need to be under a certain age to buy! But if you are concerned about time passing, it’s worth considering if you’re ready to jump into home ownership sooner rather than later.
The ‘where’ question isn’t always as simple as it seems. Do you plan on staying at your current job, in your current location for the long term? Do you have family responsibilities? Do you want to be near your friends? It’s easy to work with the ideal, but once you know where you’d like to be, it’s time to look at where you can afford
to be. Moving to Notting Hill or Dublin city centre might be high up on the dream home list, but can you make it a reality?
If it’s not possible, go back to your ‘why’ – what is it about that area? Is it the community, or the easy access to pubs and restaurants? Do you want parks and open spaces, or a short commute? Could you find this in a similar area that’s in your price bracket?
Sometimes just expanding your search by a few miles can reveal pockets of affordability you didn’t know about, near to the area you love and without causing too much upheaval. Spend some time walking around the area and getting a feel for it at different times of the day and week.
This is where some of the practicality sets in, and you’ll need to think about what kind of saver you are. You’re going to have very different saving strategies (and lifestyles) depending on whether you want to move next year or in five years.
If you’re the kind of person who can move back home, spend nothing for a year and get yourself that deposit quickly, so that you can move in and commence normal life, then go for it. If you can’t sacrifice everything to live on a shoestring for a year, a more balanced approach over a longer time period might work better.
If you give yourself a (loose) deadline for when you want to buy a home, you can start adapting your savings. Even just putting a little more away a month, improving your credit score
or working on clearing any debts
now can have a huge impact on your ability to move in a couple of years’ time.
The how is the big question, and we’ve got lots of articles to help with that when the time comes. But for now, just consider what you want, where you want it, and when. Considering your options means that as we go into the new year you can put a plan into place. Whether it’s starting saving for a deposit
, assessing different neighbourhoods
, considering all the extra costs
or thinking about moving abroad
, we’re here to help.
Still worried about funding? There are so many first time buyer schemes
available across the country, as well as the chance for a cash bonus reward for saving in a Lifetime ISA
Your dream first home can be a reality, you just need a little support along the way!